For eight seasons as a down lineman and a linebacker, A.J. Duhe was a force in the middle of Miami's defense.
AJ Duhe was a defensive lineman for the Louisiana State University Tigers, and was selected by Miami with their first round pick of the 1977 NFL Entry Draft with the 13th overall pick.
As a rookie, Duhe totalled about 55 tackles, seven sacks, one fumble recovery and a blocked punt, starting every game at right defensive end. He collected six tackles, three sacks, one loose ball and knocked down a pass in a week eight 14-10 victory over the New York Jets. Miami finished the season at 10-4, good enough for a share of the AFC East title, but not quite good enough for qualification for the playoffs.
In 1978, Duhe was limited to 10 starts over 13 games at right defensive end. His impact was limited as such, but he still managed to collect approximately six sacks along with 40 tackles and two fumble recoveries, returning one 68 yards against the San Diego Chargers in a week seven 28-21 victory. He also scored his only career safety, in a week 15 victory over the Oakland Raiders, 23-6. Miami finished at 11-5, making the playoffs as a wildcard.
Duhe was again derailed by injuries in 1979, making only two starts at linebacker over 13 appearances. His best performance of the season came in a week 11 victory over the Baltimore Colts, 19-0, as Duhe made six tackles and his only sack of the season. Miami won the AFC East title with a 10-6 record.
1980 would see Duhe regain his form, starting 15 of 16 games for the Dolphins at right inside linebacker. He made around 60 tackles and six sacks, including two in a week 10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, 35-14. Miami went 8-8, intercepting an AFC second best 28 interceptions.
In 1981, Duhe started all 16 games at left inside linebacker, a position he would remain at for the rest of his NFL career. He made approximately 100 tackles along with around eight sacks. He made 12 tackles in a week five 28-28 tie with the New York Jets. Miami finished at 11-4-1, winning the AFC East as the defense allowed an AFC low 275 points. Duhe was named to the UPI All-AFC first-team.
1982 was shortened to nine games resulting from the players strike. Duhe started every game, totalling 62 tackles and two sacks. He excelled in the playoffs, collecting three sacks through the AFC quarterfinals and semifinals, and intercepting New York Jets quarterback Richard Todd three times in the AFC Championship game, returning one for a touchdown. Miami won, 14-0, advancing to Super Bowl XVII.
In 1983, Duhe started 15 games for the Dolphins as the team won the AFC East with a 12-4 record. He registered 87 tackles and 5.5 sacks, including 4.5 in the first four weeks of the season. As a whole, the defense allowed an NFL low 250 total points. For his efforts, Duhe was named to the UPI All-AFC second-team.
Even though injuries limited Duhe to starting only eight of 12 games, 1984 would mark Duhe's first ever Pro Bowl invitation. He still managed 52 tackles and two sacks as Miami posted a 14-2 regular season record, breezing through the playoffs for a berth in Super Bowl XIX.
Duhe was released prior to the 1985 season. Over eight seasons on Miami's defense, he accumulated approximately 486 tackles and 37.5 sacks, starting 89 of 108 games played.
Miami has a long history of game changing linebackers. Who was the most dominant linebacker in Dolphins history?
Nick Buoniconti (661 votes)
Larry Gordon (14 votes)
AJ Duhe (269 votes)
Zach Thomas (2855 votes)
Mike Kolen (11 votes)
John Offerdahl (403 votes)
Doug Swift (22 votes)
Brian Cox (158 votes)
Bob Brudzinski (23 votes)
4416 total votes